That's probably the only promise I can make as a doula -- I can't promise you that your birth will go the way you want it, I can't promise you that I can protect your birthing space against hospital policies and care providers who don't respect your wishes. But I can promise you that I will back you in any decision you make.
If you decide once you're in labor that your birth plan is out the window, know what? It's not my birth, it's YOURS, and my job is to support you in your decisions.
I've been running into a lot of real negativity about how "other" doulas don't to things the right way, i.e., not the way the doula speaking does things. I've encountered what I can only describe as scorn from other doulas when they learn that I did not use a doula for any of my births. It's been actually said to me that I can't be a doula effectively if I don't use one for my own births. Mind you -- no one ever ASKED me why I did not use a doula.
If anyone happens to be interested, it has a bit to do with my feeling judged by women in my past, and frankly the last thing I need when I am in labor is to feel judged... or even just worrying about feeling judged. I don't have a lot of need for touch, and I find I can cope with labor, and other challenges, best without a lot of input or distraction. When I'm surrounded by a lot of people in labor, I feel the need to either put on a happy face, crack jokes, or just play hostess in one way or another.
This is not to say that I don't see the value in physical, emotional, and informational support in labor. Of course I do!
But I also understand and respect that everyone has her own way. I tell clients that what gets them through labor is the right way to do it. If they want me to dress like Betsy Ross and dance a jig, I'll do it. Whatever. I'm not them and it's not my job to be them. It's my job to support their choices. And if someone doesn't want a doula, then my goodness I would never pass judgment on that!
There is nothing that has happened in the past few days that has spurred me to write this, it's just been festering for a while.